The Kwaj Community Aircraft Photo Album #2



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Album 2

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Album 4

Album 5
Kwajalein Community Shermie's Place


B24 Liberator--Kwajalein Airstrip, 1944
WWII Photos provided by Fred Mainer

PBY Land or Sea, Kwajalein, 1944 >    


Navy Aircraft Maint. - Hercules Sea Planes
Picture provided by Gordon Hext


Jim Brown, Helicopter Pilot, 1973
Picture taken by Shermie Wiehe


1970-80s - Caribou
Picture taken by Shermie Wiehe

1970s - C-54
Picture taken by Shermie Wiehe

Roi-Namur - July 1977 - Plane Crash
Picture taken by Shermie Wiehe
 
 


Provided by Clem Brzoznowski, CDC EIC, retired


DC-6 Commuter/ Cargo Plane - 1960s
Picture provide by Gordon Hext

DC-3 Commuter Plane - 1960s
Picture provide by Gordon Hext


Final Approach to Kwaj - View from DC-3 - 1960s
Picture provide by Gordon Hext


Picture provided by Buz Mills


Jim Brown - Shermie's favorite Helicopter Pilot of Kwajalein - pre-flight Checks


This article and the following two photos were provided by Kevin Stewart


Army's UH!


The UH1 replacement "Lakota"


DC-54 Approach to Roi-Namur


Roi-Namur DC-54 Accident - June 1977


This C-54 crashed after skidding off the north side of the Roi-Namur runway - Shermie Wiehe & Bobbi Gibson last flight on this aircraft. Shermie Wiehe and Bobbi Gibson were passengers on this flight to Roi-Namur from Kwajalein to spend the day working, Shermie at the telemetry site and Bobbi at TRADEX. After departing the flight, Shermie rode a vehicle over the road this plane skidded across in view before dropping into the ocean. It was the "8:30 Turn-A-Round flight" with few people to Roi and empty returning to Kwaj. After arriving at the telemetry station, about a 1/4th of a mile in the direction of the tail of the plane, Shermie learned that the plane had crashed.  To this day, Shermie still remembers the two pilots (Clark B. Gathercole - senior Captain, ?) by looks that flew the aircraft. They were lucky. Bobbi Gibson also arrived at TRADEX, to hear the plane took a dump - communication failure between a new & old pilot then "oops".

Received from Don Gray
I was on the flight from Kwaj to Roi that morning. I usually walked from the air terminal and was just passing the Altair radar on my way to TRADEX when I heard the plane roaring down the runway. Then, all of a sudden, the roar ended and I knew that the plane was in the drink and it was just a question of how far the C-54 went before it crashed. As you know the view of the runway is blocked by the jungle at that point. So I hustled up the road to get a clear view. I was glad to see that the plane was nose down at the end of the runway and not floating on the ocean.  Of course the accident was the topic of the day at work. It was said that Tusi Siose was the first person on the scene and had tried to break the pilots window to provide an exit for the crew.
 



Photo provided by son, Robert "Doc" Calladine

My father use to fly DC-54's (actually military - C-54's) and Caribou's on Kwaj and we lived there from 1968 until 1975. Well, I have been putting together a book on the DC-4/C-54 for several years now... and there are still some years yet in it before it's finally done.

Anyway, in doing some research back in 1995, I discovered that one of the Kwaj DC-4's was still around. So I made arrangements to travel to Tucson and photograph the old girl.  When I finally came face to face with her, she was still in her Kwaj colors, except for the insignia and lettering. She looked marvelous for having seen some hard days since retiring from Paradise some 17 years earlier, but sadly there was no physical sign of  the connection with my home and of course my father who passed away so long ago. This aircraft, tail number 0-72617 or as she was called on Kwaj, simply 617, is special to me because I have a very cherished photograph of my father sitting in the left seat (shown above) with his arm hanging out of the window during a quick turn on Roi. This is in fact the only photo I have of my father as a pilot.

Anyway, feeling somewhat saddened by this lack of a connection, I wandered over to one of the other C-54's which were parked near by. Except for 617, the other three C-54's are set up as fire bombers for fighting forest fires. When I looked up at the tail of tanker 152 I nearly flipped and I can honestly say that I wiped away more than one tear. There bleeding through the worn, white paint were the words Kwajalein Missile Range!!!!  Yes, there in the desert of Arizona, parked no farther apart than they would have been all those years ago on Kwaj were two Kwaj C-54's!!! Tail number 0-17228 and 0-72617 had been reunited!  This indeed turned out to be a fantastic day!!!!

I have included some of the photos I took that day and thought you might want to put them on you Aviation page. Of course if there is anyone out there who holds similar memories to myself and would like to touch the past just drop me a line and I can put you in touch with the owner.

On to a related subject... there is a photo of the C-54, tail number 72650, which ran off the runway at Roi in 1977. Is there any way to get a copy of this picture? I have a couple of photos, given to me by Capt. Clark Gathercole, one of the pilots on that ill-fated flight, but they are shot from behind with the aircraft still nose down on the reef.  Is there anyone out there who knows what eventually happened to the aircraft?

Cheers, Bob "Doc" Calladine, FionaAndrs@aol.com
 
 


Album 1

Album 2

Album 3

Album 4

Album 5
Kwajalein Community Shermie's Place